Go List 201325 PLACES TO GO IN 2013
Why Go Now Throughout 2013, Ireland will host events, festivals, and reunions in honor of the more than 70 million people worldwide who claim Irish heritage. The Gathering welcomes those with Irish roots back to their ancestral homeland to reconnect with the country's lush landscapes and vibrant cultures. Visitors can track their genealogies, explore the villages of their forebears, and mingle with current residents. More than just a celebration for those with Irish blood, The Gathering offers music festivals, pub crawls, and public gatherings in all corners of the country for those who are Irish in spirit as well. –by Luke Epplin
Where to StayClose to the renowned Ring of Kerry, the 2012 Fodor's 100 Hotel Award winner Park Hotel Kenmare is a 46-room mansion that harkens back to the days of Victorian refinement and civility. The hotel's 12 acres encompass herb and flower gardens, stone garden statues, and many romantic nooks. If you're looking for a place fit for royalty, try Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus. Once home to the barons of Inchiquin, this regal hotel, also a 2012 Fodor's 100 Hotel Award winner, includes a swan lake and a walled garden.
Insider TipFor a week's stay in Ireland, consider booking small city-center hotels in Dublin, Cork, and Galway. For at least one night, however, stay in a castle or country house—it's costly but memorable.
Word of Mouth "Sligo has some nice shops and pubs," notes Fodorite Padhraicin. "Hardogans is a lovely pub to drop into during the day. Visit the woodcarver Michael Quirke in his shop on Wine Street."
When to Go Travel between June and September for pleasant, drier weather.
Plan Your Trip Start planning using Fodor's Ireland Travel Guide.